Online Learning for All: Addressing Best Practices and Systemic Inequities

Online Learning for All: Addressing Best Practices and Systemic Inequities

Deborah A. Scigliano, David Parker
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6533-9.ch014
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


The current pandemic has brought to light two areas of the online American educational system that need to be improved. One is the need to promote a greater sense of online teaching efficacy, leading to the ability to navigate the online teaching environment to promote student learning. The other is addressing the disparities that the pandemic uncovered associated with involving all learners in the online environment. Online learning for all learners and structures/systems that support equity is needed to have a seat at the table, whether that table is face-to-face or online. This chapter will address best practices of engaging learners in an online environment that can positively impact teacher online self-efficacy. The institutional culture and climate which led to the disparities that left many institutions rushing to make sure that all their learners would be served will be examined.
Chapter Preview


The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of life. The pandemic has revealed several disturbing issues, including a lack of readiness to address major health problems, a fragile supply system, and even greater disparities in healthcare and education than were previously acknowledged. Disparities in education focus on aspects of inclusion and belonging. As educational institutions explore options with regard to reopening and moving forward, leaders are challenged with creating workplace environments, whether virtual or face-to-face, which are based authentically upon principles of belonging and inclusion.

The need to move to virtual learning revealed the depth of the digital divide that currently exists when it was revealed that many learners did not have the equipment and wireless access that was needed to engage in virtual learning. On top of that, some teachers stated they were unaware that some children in their class did not have Internet services in their homes. Educational institutions were left scrambling to find ways to reach all of their learners. It is important moving forward to examine how and why these disparities exist. There is a need to examine beliefs and biases in institutional culture and climate. There is a need for culturally responsive pedagogy in online learning. There is a need for professional learning in online teaching/learning for teachers.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that United States educators were not prepared to transfer their face-to-face teaching/learning to the virtual environment. This gap in preparedness extended to all levels of learning environments, both basic and higher education environments. Educators need to have specific and intentional professional development in virtual teaching/learning in order to be effective (Davis & Rose, 2007). Online learning self-efficacy is needed for educators to successfully address the learning needs of all of their students.

Each of these elements will be addressed in this chapter. An understanding is needed of institutional culture and climate and the role that implicit bias has in shaping the culture and climate of educational institutions. The professional development needs of educators for online learning will be discussed to examine how the disparity in preparedness for virtual learning has contributed to inequities in teaching/learning. Solutions to address these needs will be discussed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Implicit Bias: Automatic associations that people may make about individuals or groups.

Telementoring: The virtual partnership between a telementor, also known as a subject matter expert, and a teleprotégé who is the learner.

Digital Divide: The gap between students who have knowledge of and access to technology and student who do not have this knowledge and access.

Asynchronous: A form of communication that occurs not at the same time.

Culture: The beliefs, values, customs, and artifacts of an institution.

Climate: The lived culture of an institution.

Self-Efficacy: The belief in one’s capability to perform a particular endeavor.

Institution: Refers to an educational institution at the basic education (P-12) or higher education levels.

Virtual Learning: Learning that takes place in an online environment. It is also known as e-learning and online learning.

Synchronous: A form of communication that occurs at the same time.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: